Testing out the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire in Baja, Mexico

BFGoodrich Tires, the company that created the first all-terrain tire back in 1976, is set to launch its most capable light truck tire ever this fall: the all-new BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain T/A KO2.

Engineered from BFGoodrich’s championship off-road motorsports racing technology, the KO2 promises to deliver exceptional toughness, durability and traction for traversing harsh conditions, including gravel, dirt, rock, mud and snow.

To prove just how capable these new tires are, BFGoodrich invited us down to Northern Baja a few weeks ago to test out the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires in some of the toughest conditions imaginable. Over the course of two days, we tackled everything from rocks, dirt, sand and mud as we drove on parts of previous and current SCORE Baja 500 and 1000 courses.

So why Baja? BFGoodrich has a rich history with this area, one that started nearly 40 years ago in 1975, when their engineers first descended on Northern Baja to test out their new radial light truck tire. It was there that BFG quickly learned that there was “laboratory tough” and there was “Baja tough.”

The following year, BFGoodrich debuted the Radial All-Terrain T/A tire, and they headed back down to Baja to prove the durability of this new tire by competing in their first race. Through it’s success, this tire would soon come to define the all-terrain tire category.

So 38 years and 80 Baja wins later, BFGoodrich decided to come full circle, bringing us down to Baja to experience the All-Terrain T/A KO2 in it’s natural habitat. After all, if the KO2’s could handle the grueling landscape of Baja, truly some of the toughest terrain on the planet, they should be able to handle anything you throw it’s way!

How Does the KO2 Differ From the KO?

The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO defined the all-terrain tire category for decades, and it’s still a favorite among off-road enthusiasts. Now BFG is once again unleashing a game-changing tire that will take on anything ‘Playground Earth’ has to dish out with the new KO2. These new tires grip better on mud and snow, while lasting longer on gravel and asphalt.

In developing the KO2, BFG engineers leveraged the latest off-road racing technology to
provide consumers with an advanced tire to meet a range of conditions. KO2 borrows heavily from the BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2 tire, which was equipped on nine of the top 10 finishers in the 2014 Tecate SCORE Baja 500.

Key features of the KO2 include:

20% Tougher Sidewalls: The KO2 uses CoreGard technology developed in the Baja T/A KR2 for split and bruise-resistant sidewall rubber and a thicker, extended shoulder to
prevent sidewall failures. Computer modeling was used to predict object paths and
create a sidewall design most likely to deflect protruding objects, reducing the chances
of splits and snags. The result is a tougher tire as consumers take on trails of various
conditions.

Longer Treadlife: The KO2 has a new tread design and rubber formulation that helps it last twice as long on gravel and 15% longer on asphalt than the previous tire. The tread rubber has been optimally blended to reduce chips and tears on gravel. A new
footprint shape and interlocking tread design provide more uniform wear over the long
haul. Special stone ejectors push objects out of the tread to reduce drilling into the tire.

Aggressive Traction: The KO2 also has a range of tread features for better mud and
snow traction. Side-Biter lugs in the sidewall improve traction in mud, snow and rocks.
Raised bars in the shoulder help release compacted mud for better traction in soft soil.
3-D sipes create biting edges for better snow traction.

Putting the KO2s to the Test

Our journey began at Horsepower Ranch in Ensenada with vehicle introductions and a quick safety session. For the next two days, we’d be driving Wide Open Baja BC cars and Ford Racing/Miller Motorsports Park Ford Raptors, and they wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing before heading out into the desert. Afterwards, we headed inside for a detailed technical presentation about the KO2s, followed by dinner.

The following morning, we got our vehicle assignments, donned our helmets (complete with air filtration system, since these are open air buggies), secured our harnesses, adjusted our seats, and got ready to leave Horsepower Ranch.

Leaving in groups of five, we headed out of town and onto sections of the course used in the Baja 500 and 1000, which was a truly exhilarating experience. We covered roughly 200 miles on the first day, experiencing quite a variety of Baja terrain that would have lesser tires begging for mercy. But everyone arrived at Mike’s Sky Ranch in one piece, though most of us were covered in lots of dirt and mud.

The following morning, we jumped into our BC cars and left Mike’s Sky Ranch by way of Simpson Hill. And let me tell you, this was easily one of the toughest trails that I’ve ever seen, taking us nearly an hour to traverse about 10 miles of travel.

Next, we started making our way up to the summit. Now this is the Baja I was expecting – narrow gravel roads with huge drop-offs, and no guard rails to save you if you make a wrong move. Now, I’ll admit it, I slowed WAY down for this part of the drive, as a mistake here could have been fatal, and I wasn’t having any of that!

After a pulse-pounding morning like that, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful in comparison. We drove along a length of sandy beach in the Raptors after lunch, drove along some roads, and then called it a day.

Overall, we were beyond impressed with the performance of the BFGoodrich KO2s, as they handled everything we threw at them with ease. It’s clear to see why BFG’s motto for the KO2 is “Our Toughest All-Terrain Tire Ever.”

Pricing / Availability

The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 will be released on November 1st, initially in 12 sizes fitting a range of vehicles, including Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Dodge, Toyota and Nissan pick-up trucks and SUV’s, as well as Plus Fitments for a wide variety of vehicles.

The MSRP for the tire starts at $222. Additional sizes will be released in 2015.

For more information, visit www.bfgoodrichtires.com.

Sujeet Patel is founder and publisher of GuysGab.com

  

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